Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722005, 722085 

Items
No. Item

89.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

90.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Agar – Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026 and Draft Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 (Minute 96) – As a Member of Worcestershire Pension Board

 

Councillors Berry and Hodges – Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026 and Draft Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 (Minute 96) – Self or partner is a beneficiary of the Pension Fund.

 

Councillor Mitchell – Covid-19 Support Measures for Businesses and Other Organisations (Minute 97) – As a director of Worcester Racecourse

 

91.

Public Representations

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, with each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

92.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Of the meeting held on 3rd November 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd November 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

93.

Minutes of Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 29th October 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the minutes of the meeting held on 29th October 2020.

94.

Minutes of Income Generation Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 5th November 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the minutes of the meeting held on 5th November 2020.

95.

Minutes of Personnel and General Purposes Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 14th October 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the minutes of the meeting held on 14th October 2020.

96.

Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026 and Draft Budget and Council Tax 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 386 KB

1. That the Committee refers the Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026, and the proposed Draft Budget & Council Tax for 2021/22, including the financial management priorities and key assumptions for the short term and medium term planning horizon, to members for consideration at the committee meetings in January 2021 and feedback to the Policy and Resources Committee on 9 February 2021;

 

2. That the Committee approves, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003 and the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 2012, that the Council Tax Base calculation for the year 2021/22 will be 32,121.9 for Worcester City Council, including 3,937.6 for Warndon Parish Council and 2,178.1 for St Peter’s Parish Council (as detailed in Appendix 3);

 

3. That the Committee notes that the proposals will be updated for any agreed changes following budget consultation with Members, and for any significant changes following the publication of the Local Government Finance Settlement.  Formal adoption of the MTFP and the Budget & Council Tax 2021/22, will be recommended to Full Council for approval on 23 February 2021; and

 

4. That the Committee invites all political groups and/or individual members to notify the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources no later than 31 December 2020 of any other budget proposals that they wish officers to explore and request the Corporate Director to include such proposals in the reports for consideration by Members at the January meetings of the relevant policy committees.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2021-2026 and the Draft Budget & Council Tax 2021/22. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and highlighted the key points.

 

In summary, the MTFP, as presented, would provide a balanced budget for 2021/22. For the subsequent years, the Council faced a potential budget deficit which would need to be addressed thorough further, as yet unidentified, income and efficiency improvements.

 

The MTFP made a number of key assumptions, based on current Government policies and any known future changes to the way local government is funded. Other potential changes, particularly the possible move to retaining 75% business rates, would need to be understood and built into future financial projections.

 

The Draft Budget and Draft MTFP would be kept under review as the budget process is taken forward through consultation and the update process in January and February, prior to Full Council consideration and approval in February 2021. A further report will be presented to the meeting of this Committee on 9 February 2021.

 

The Corporate Director responded to questions from Committee Members on detailed aspects of the report. In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         The Managing Director commented that funding to deliver services is undergoing fundamental change and going forward is likely to be achieved by bidding for capital grants rather than through making annual surpluses. The organisation will need to change its structures to be able to do this.

 

·         At this stage it is too early to identify whether successful bids will deliver opportunities to generate income.

 

·         Environmental Operations activity continues to grow and the vehicle replacement programme relates to specific vehicles, based on their lifetime.

 

·         The introduction of food waste collection is being driven by government through the Environment Bill and a further announcement about this is expected in new year. This will be a matter for the Environment Committee to consider.

 

·         The Corporate Director advised that base budget includes all growth items, the new pressures for this year have been identified in the report. Potential income and efficiency savings are spread across all directorates.

 

·         Reference was made to the recently announced Leisure Recovery Fund. The deadline for expressions of interest is 21 December 2020 and bids must be submitted by 4 January 2021.

 

·         It was clarified that the budget gap figures set out in paragraph 7.3 of the report are not cumulative.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    refer the Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026, and the proposed Draft Budget & Council Tax for 2021/22, including the financial management priorities and key assumptions for the short term and medium term planning horizon, to members for consideration at the committee meetings in January 2021 and feedback to the Policy and Resources Committee on 9 February 2021;

 

2.    approve, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 1992, the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003 and the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Covid-19 Support Measures for Businesses and Other Organisations pdf icon PDF 384 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     notes the decision to provide discretionary support grants to organisations taken by the Managing Director under urgency powers in response to the Covid-19 emergency incident; and

 

2.     agrees to waive the management fee for Worcester Racecourse for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report summarising actions taken to support businesses since the date of the last meeting. The Managing Director presented the report and explained the three types of grant available to help compensate local organisations for the loss of business and the funding that the Council had received from the Government to provide these.

 

The report also set out a request from Arena Leisure seeking compensation for the total loss of income since March 2020 by way of the waiver of the management fee payable for 2020/21. The compensation was calculated to be £49,875, giving a loss in income for the year of £20,125. 

 

Committee Members expressed support for the request, acknowledging that both floods and the Covid-19 restrictions had impacted significantly on the provision of racing and other events at Worcester Racecourse.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree:

 

1.  to note the decision to provide discretionary support grants to organisations taken by the Managing Director under urgency powers in response to the Covid-19 emergency incident; and

 

2.  to waive the management fee for Worcester Racecourse for 2020/21.

98.

Voluntary Redundancy Scheme pdf icon PDF 128 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the contents of this Report and the requirements for savings, including from the staffing budget, to enable the Council to address its Medium Term Financial Plan;

 

2.     Approves the revisions to the Council’s Redundancy Policy set at out Appendix 1; and

 

3.     Approves a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme as an additional incentive measure to provide a means to deliver early savings for the Council, and delegates authority to the Managing Director to implement the proposed Scheme in the terms outlined in this report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposed revisions to the Council’s Redundancy Policy. The Managing Director presented the report and summarised the reasons for the proposal. He explained that salary costs for the last financial year amounted to approximately 55% of total service spend, including third party contracts and shared services. The proposals for increased efficiencies in the Medium Term Financial Plan would result in a reduction in the Council’s staff base and this process should be done in a planned and cost-effective manner. The revised policy set out a series of relevant, but non-material, changes and the report also asked the Committee to consider adopting a time-limited voluntary redundancy scheme on enhanced terms with the intention of assisting the Council achieve some early savings.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the contents of this Report and the requirements for savings, including from the staffing budget, to enable the Council to address its Medium Term Financial Plan;

 

2.    approve the revisions to the Council’s Redundancy Policy set at out Appendix 1; and

 

3.    approve a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme as an additional incentive measure to provide a means to deliver early savings for the Council, and delegates authority to the Managing Director to implement the proposed Scheme in the terms outlined in this report.

99.

The Hopmarket Charity: Governance pdf icon PDF 210 KB

That the Policy and Resources Committee agrees that the Hopmarket Charity should become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and authorises the Deputy Director Governance in consultation with the Council’s appointed Charity trustees to take all necessary steps to effect this change in legal status.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a proposal for the Hopmarket Charity to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The Deputy Director – Governance presented the report and explained that the Trustees of the charity are appointed by the Council through this Committee. The Trustees had recently received advice and agreed a series of measures to ensure the its governance remains on a sound footing. This included reviewing the Standing Orders and confirming the scheme of delegation, appointing Vice- Chairs to support the work of the charity’s Chairman, making provision for community trustees to serve extended terms if in the best interests of the Charity, and procuring trustee liability indemnity insurance.

 

The Trustees had also considered whether the charity should become incorporated as a legal entity in its own right. The charity was currently an “unincorporated charitable trust” meaning it is not a legal entity in its own right, separate from the trustees. The main benefit of incorporation was limited liability protection for trustees. The trustees had agreed apply to the Charity Commission to become a CIO and were seeking the Council’s endorsement to this approach.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree that the Hopmarket Charity should become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and authorises the Deputy Director Governance in consultation with the Council’s appointed Charity trustees to take all necessary steps to effect this change in legal status.

100.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.